pssplash Photoshop. For Android. Yes indeed, the premier image editing brand has launched a free app for Android, and without a doubt that is a feather in Android’s cap. But forgetting the big brand name for the moment, how does the app stack up on its own merits? It’s a solid app essential for users of; not without faults, but a quick candidate for best free image gallery app.

Of course, you can’t install this app expecting all the features of CS4–or the props and word bubbles of PicSay. Mobile has a fairly narrow focus: it’s a polished gallery replacement that syncs with online storage and has a few editing functions to touch up your photos.

Gallery Replacement
psgallery The stock Android photo gallery is pretty spartan, and Photoshop is a big improvement, allowing you to browse through pictures with intuitive swipes and select a batch of photos for a slideshow. The user experience is slick and professional but for one fly in the ointment: it’s difficult to find the photos you want to look at in the thumbnail view.

First, it displays ALL the images on your phone. So to find that picture of my dog I’m looking for, I have to scroll past pointers from My Maps Editor, avatars from twitter and facebook,  etc. They’re all lumped together with no options to sort or filter. Exacerbating that problem, the app reloads thumbnails each time you scroll past them–even if they just loaded a moment ago. You end up spending a lot of time looking at a black screen, waiting for thumbnails to load.

Other apps have better ways of handling this. Photo BURST, for example, first shows you all the folders on your sdcard that have images in them. You can then drill down to the images you want to look at. You can also address the issue by creating empty files named “.nomedia” and placing them in in directories that you don’t want gallery apps to index, but that’s not a solution the average user will avail himself of.
psupload2If you already have a membership, this app will give you easy access to photos stored there. If you don’t, you’ll need to set up an account to use the app. A free account gets you 2Gb of cloud storage; paid accounts start at  $20/year for 20Gb. That’s not a great deal compared to what Google offers with Picasa ($5/year for 20Gb), but hey, free is free.

Syncing with is where the app shines. As long as you have a data connection, you can browse through photos stored online just like you can with ones on your phone, effectively freeing up SD card space. It’s easy to batch upload photos to, and an auto-upload option will automatically upload every photo you take.  Either way, uploads chug along in the background whether you’re still using the app or not.

Editing photos
psexpose Once I figured out that editing functions are not the main point of this app, I was no longer disappointed that there are only nine editing functions: crop, straighten, rotate, flip, exposure, saturation, tint, black&white, and soft focus. No laundry list of crazy filters, just a few tools to make photos look better.

I’d much rather have white balance than tint, but the functions you get are all really well done. Each is controlled with intuitive gestures and many have nice touches. For example, when you straighten a photo, the app also zooms a bit as you rotate, eliminating what otherwise would be empty spots in the corners. In addition, the app allows multiple levels of undo.


Rather than running through each function, I suggest you watch Adobe’s video tutorial. It does a great job of detailing every function of the app.

Other issues

  • When you set an image as wallpaper, it just decides for you how to crop it. Results are not always optimal:

pswallpaper1 pswallpaper2

  • It’s always running in the background, taking up 14K of memory. End it with a task killer, and it will come right back. This sort of thing bugs the heck out of me.

Reviewed Using: G1 running Cyanogen
Presentation: One of the most polished apps I’ve come across. It’s a joy to use.
Value: For free, you get a great photo gallery app and 2Gb of cloud storage. If you already use, it’s a no-brainer.
Stability/Resources: While the app never lagged or crashed, it always runs in the background, coming back like a zombie no matter how often you kill it.
AG Says: While other apps best many of its features, Mobile fills a niche. Photo BURST is a better gallery with better sharing options, but lacks editing functions; PicSay offers more powerful image editing but lacks the polish of Photoshop. And while full versions of both Photo BURST and PicSay are paid, Photoshop is free and comes with cloud storage features neither of the others offers.
Rating: **** 4 Stars

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  1. Could not disagree with this review any more. Just because it is a polished app, it gets a good rating? I couldn't delete this app fast enough. I will take my non-polished, paid for, Picsay Pro any day over this app.

  2. Useless App…

    If you want photo editting, take a look at Foxy Editor – lite version does a lot of things or it's $3 for the full app.

  3. I liked the app but after killing it over 10 times and watching it resurrect itself I uninstalled it. There is no reason a photo editing app should be running in the background always

  4. As a designer I live in photoshop on a daily basis and the Photoshop app completely sucks! If it could handle layers, it may have an edge up on the other billion (ok exaggerated) apps that can do the same thing if not more. I actually just downloaded an app on my iPhone that can handle psd files and layers within. So it can be done. Why Adobe chose to release a severely dumbed down app is beyond me but…I'm sure its just in hopes to get people using the online version of Photoshop – which any hard core designer knows is complete crap also.

    • I understand where you're coming from Gary, and for your purposes it does suck. But part of what I wanted to get across is that it's not aimed at hardcore designers. It's less like CS4 and more like Photoshop Album.

  5. It's so funny…another Android blog posted a negative review of this app, and there were dozens of comments criticizing the writer for being too negative. Here, a generally positive review is followed by comment after comment criticizing the reviewer for being too positive.

    Keep at it, Chuck. At least you're clearly using the apps you review, and your posts are well-written and thorough. I personally don't agree with your final rating, but you gave enough pros and cons to help us make up our minds for ourselves, which is really what these things are for anyway.

    Despite some of the other writers here (who shall remain nameless), your reviews will keep me coming back.

  6. Its a nice cool application but i would have loved it even more with the option to reduce the image size/quality so that i can upload photos to my blog directly from my phone.I can put full images on my blog as it will consume lot of bandwidth.Is this app going to launch for Symbian touch phones?

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